We ASP.NET Geeks Have Lost Nothing

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Rob Conery—the creator of the very, very slick SubSonic persistence framework—writes that he has forgotten a lot of HTML and javascript. He ain’t lying. I took his little challenge and failed miserably. Then again, I realized how glad I was that I had not had to struggle with, nor implement, manual form handling in quite some time. While I might have lost something by becoming an ASP.NET junkie, at the same time I gained a lot of very, very powerful tools to make complex, interactive web applications without having to worry too much about how to wire up HTML forms.

Here is a more realistic version of Rob’s Challenge:*

Create a form to collect registration information for an event. We require you capture:

  • Full contact information (Name, address, email, etc)
  • Full demographic information (Industry, employer size, buying powers, subject matter focuses)
  • Session registration selections
  • Hotel reservation information.
  • User should not be presented with a massive gargantuan form. It should be broken down into bite sized chunks.
  • User should be able to proceed forwards and backwards through the series of forms and edit information at their whim.
  • Present the user with a confirmation screen showing all of their choices before persisting the information to a database, and into a separate CRM system via web services.

This application must be ready to go live by tomorrow morning.

*This is really, really realistic. I wrote two of these wizards last week.

How would you tackle this problem using ‘classic’ techniques? And how long would it take you to make all that manual handling of POST data bulletproof?

Personally, and unlike Rob, I don’t feel disconnected from my “cooler” brethren. I feel like I have a superior toolset to make complex, interactive web applications than folks still handling html forms by hand. It is OK to be a .NET guy.

Wyatt BarnettWyatt Barnett
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